Lightning strikes leave 1,000 Midlands homes without power as thunderstorms roll in
Nearly 1,000 properties have been left without power across the Midlands, and motorists have been warned of potentially hazardous conditions
The Midlands faced fierce lightning strikes as the “mother of all thunderstorms” rolled in across the UK overnight, meteorologists said.
More than 500 weather-related calls were taken in southern parts of the country as the warm and humid bank holiday weather broke down into an “utterly intense” storm.
A fire started in part of the roof of Bantock House, in Wolverhampton, sparked by a lightning strike.
Firefighters managed to avert a large-scale blaze at the historic former manor house turned museum.
Firefighters have reported flooding in Welshpool brought on by heavy showers in the overnight storms.
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How storms brought disruption and power cuts
Western Power Distribution (WPD) said nearly 1,000 properties had been left without power across the Midlands, with the majority of outages down to lightning.
Officials said 78 properties were without power in Halesowen with teams hoping to have it fully restored by 12noon.
They were also able to confirm 11 properties were without power in the Fordhouses area of Wolverhampton, near Moseley.
Three were also affected in Kingsford near Kinver, and 28 in Armitage near Cannock Chase.
In Ludlow, 43 properties had been cut off overnight although power was expected to be restored by mid-morning. A further 26 would be back on by 10am in Ledwyche.
North of Church Stretton, 23 properties were without power in Picklescott.
A spokeswoman for WPD said: "Teams have been working through the night to restore power. We apologise for any inconvenience caused."
And there were further warnings for storms into this afternoon.
WATCH the forecast for Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday
A cluster of 17 flood alerts has been issued for parts of the Thames Valley, while Midlands fire services warned motorists of the risks of driving on flood-hit roads.
West Midlands Fire Service tweeted: "It looks as though heavy rain and thunderstorms are here for the day.
"If this causes roads to flood, please do not put yourself in danger by driving into the floodwater, find an alternative route.
"It may put minutes on the journey, but this is better than ruining your vehicle.
Met Office meteorologist Charlie Powell said information suggested there were “somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 strikes across the UK during the overnight period”.
He explained: “Temperatures overnight did not fall much below 15 or 16 degrees, for the end of May that’s a pretty hot and humid night so everything was primed.
“We had some storms coming in from northern France and some building up in the Channel and they sort of spread out and have been working their way in."
Worcestershire Environment Agency manager, Dave Throup, tweeted graphics showing the movement of storms across the region including those over Kidderminster.
Lightning storms also swept in across parts of Shropshire with online maps tracking the path around Telford and Shrewsbury.
BBC weatherman Tomasz Schafernaker tweeted: “Mother of all #thunderstorms now over London. Oh boy! This UTTERLY INSANE. I’ve never seen a storm with such frequent lightning in my life I don’t think. Mostly sheet lightning and not too loud but flashes are spectacular.”